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Originally published December 18, 2013 at 04:12p.m., updated December 19, 2013 at 12:06a.m.

Jayhawks add three on first day of mid-year juco signing period

Kansas University football recruiting.

Kansas University football recruiting.

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While it paled in comparison to last year’s nine-man mid-year haul, Wednesday proved to be a productive day for the recruiting efforts of the Kansas University football program, which welcomed three players to the roster on the initial day of the mid-year junior-college signing period.

Defensive back Ronnie Davis, offensive lineman Keyon Haughton and signing-day-surprise Anthony Smithson, a safety from Hartnell Community College in Salinas, Calif., each signed and faxed his letter of intent to the football office by day’s end.

For all three future Jayhawks, signing day proved to be a special experience. Davis, who joined the Jayhawks after two seasons at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, signed his letter in the library of his high school — Midwest City (Okla.) High — with his mother, grandmother, siblings and a handful of other supporters present.

“It was exciting more than anything because I feel like I’ve worked so long just to be able to sign my name on a Div. I letter,” Davis said. “I felt good and I had my family and my coaches there with me. It was a great feeling.”

Davis, who can play both cornerback and safety, said he prefers to play the nickel-back role because it keeps him in the middle of the field, “where the action is,” and also allows him to utilize a variety of skills, from coverage and blitzing to supporting the run.

Davis, 6 feet, 170 pounds, chose Kansas after originally being committed to Utah State just a few weeks ago. He said he drew interest from Oklahoma during his high school career and heard from the Sooners early in the 2013 season at NEO but nothing materialized from there.

“That was kind of a driving factor for me,” Davis said. “I was right here and (Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) didn’t want to come get me, so I want to go to Kansas and show ‘em what I can do.”

Haughton, 6 feet, 295 pounds from Georgia Military College, was the first to send his letter of intent to Lawrence. He signed at his home in Baltimore at 6 a.m. and sent the letter to the KU football complex immediately.

Haughton already has played all five positions on the offensive line during his high school and junior-college career. He projects as a guard at Kansas but also could factor in at center.

“Either/or,” he said. “As long as I’m in the middle.”

Haughton, who picked Kansas over Florida A&M, South Alabama, Southern Miss and others, said his versatility played a key role in his recruiting.

“It helped me work my footwork better and helped me get noticed,” he said.

While Davis and Haughton were expected to make their commitments official on Wednesday, the Smithson signing came as a bit of a surprise.

Smithson, a 6-foot, 180-pound strong safety who has three years of eligibility remaining and four years to use them, chose Kansas over Oregon State, Utah and Wisconsin. Smithson seemed Utah-bound for much of the recruiting period but a recent change in the Utes’ coaching staff led Smithson away from the school where his older brother played and onto the roster at Kansas.

The three-star prospect finished the 2013 season with 75 tackles and eight interceptions. He has not yet visited KU but told Jon Kirby of JayhawkSlant.com that the reputation of the KU coaching staff and his interaction with them over the phone left no doubt in his mind that Kansas was a good fit.

“I felt the energy from their coaching staff and how excited they were,” Smithson said. “When I talked to my junior college coaches about it they didn’t hesitate when I said Kansas.”

All three players are expected to report to campus in the Jan. 17-19 range and participate in spring practices.

Counting Wednesday’s trio of signees, KU’s 2014 recruiting class now includes 13 players — five juco commitments and eight high school prospects. The Jayhawks figure to have room for nearly twice that many by the time national signing day rolls around on Feb. 5, when all non mid-year transfers in the class are eligible to make their commitments official.

Juco players on pace to graduate this month and report to Div. I campuses early have until Jan. 15 to sign their letters of intent.

Comments

Mark Lindrud 9 months ago

We need depth, nice pickup

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Kyle Berthusen 9 months ago

This is huge. This will allow Sendish to play the nickle position instead of safety where he seems a bit out of position.

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Dirk Medema 9 months ago

We only lose active reserve Linton, but also gain Kevin Short and these 2 reserves, plus another year of experience for all. We should have a very strong D-backfield, and very solid in the middle. If we can get a few more horses up front, the D could take another step forward next year. Especially if we can figure out a way to keep them off the field.

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Brett McCabe 9 months ago

RB and DB seem to be set. LB also seems to be in pretty good shape, though we will need some horses there soon. I won't even begin with the list of what we need....

We need to finish this class with almost all 3-star guys. Right now, we are just ahead of TCU for 9th in the conference. We need at least a two-team jump and, preferably, a 3-team jump in order to really get in the mix for future years. Let's hope that Reagan can help us add some WR's. And don't forget a kicker for Christmas!

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Dirk Medema 9 months ago

RB seems set if Miller doesn't remain missing. Without him, we are just getting by and inexperienced (Wrench).

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Doug Cramer 9 months ago

Priority of need:

  1. Head Coach
  2. D-Line
  3. Place Kicker
  4. Wide Receivers
  5. Offensive Line

We got a long ways to go homies.

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Brett McCabe 9 months ago

I like the idea of the list. When you have so many gaping holes, you have to set some priorities.

Your order of priority is hard to argue with. Right now, I think that they are done with the OL if they get Dontae Levingston. They have two DE's, so I am assuming that they are focusing hard on DT's. If they don't land some 3-star or 4-star (unlikely) tackles, then trouble on the defensive line will continue.

On your first priority, if Weis does go out and recruit his own replacement, it better at least be a 4-star guy!

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Lucas Town 9 months ago

Dontae Levingston has committed to Texas Tech. We have a ton of juniors that won 3 games this past season. How many games do they win as seniors? Our schedule doesn't help, and we are a couple of years from seeing most of our recruits being major contributors due to red shirting and juco guys getting used to playing in the Big 12. Because what they see on the practice field doesn't hold a candle to what they face on Saturdays.

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Robert Brock 9 months ago

  1. Some level of interest in football

  2. Investment in football

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Dirk Medema 9 months ago

The interest will increase as a relevant product is put on the field. Fortunately, KU has invested tons in the FB facilities recently.

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Glen Miller 9 months ago

No recievers, no TE's, no defensive linemen........ apparently we feel the need to add players where we are strongest and ignore our weak areas. How reciever is not THE priority #1, 2 and 3 is beyond me.

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Tom Keegan 9 months ago

Actually, Ben Johnson, who will be a red-shirt freshman next season, is an excellent tight end prospect. He's packed a lot of muscle onto his 6-5 frame and should be about 250 pounds when the season starts and he has excellent hands. At least for next season, they should be set at tight end between Johnson and Jimmay Mundine, who had horrible case of drops at beginning and end of seasons, but was pretty good in the middle. He had five TD receptions. I like Rodriguez Coleman best of the returning receivers, not counting Nick Harwell, who's way ahead of the rest. Andrew Bolton best hope at D-line, but you're right, it would be nice to add recruits at WR and D-line. Slim pickings at this point at those positions.

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Erich Hartmann 9 months ago

Glen, Actually we have our #1 WR: Harwell. Led Div.1 WRs statistically at Miami-(OH) prior to his transfer to KU. You shouldnt insult Tony Pierson by forgetting him, as he is the clear #2 WR. Then its between Coleman and maybe Josh Ford for #3 and #4. Turzilli should be benched. McKay I am simply in disbelief about.

Agree with Keegan about TE's. Maybe competition is what Mundine needs to cure his "dropsy".

Just think: 3 receiver "drops" per game is too many. That number needs to be 1 or 2 (at MOST). #1 drive-killer for KU football was the receiver drops. Simply incalculable what game outcomes and defense-rest coulda/shoulda/woulda happened if we kept our drives alive deep into the red zones...?

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Dirk Medema 9 months ago

Josh Ford is a senior; not coming back, but Ishmael was an above average recruit, so could be a contributor. Maybe Thomas as a RS-Jr. Unfortunately, sometimes even top priorities aren't fulfilled in recruiting classes. There are still two months left though, and plenty of quality prospects that haven't decided where they want to go to school.

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